not being a real true climber, i’m not sure if the above statement is really true. what about the “hit. climb. hit. climb.” of ice-picking your way up? what about crampons? what about ropes and aluminum ladders perched against the icy pitch?
i do, however, know this quote has good intentions.
we are hikers. trekkers. i/we have never used a rope or crampons or ladders or ice picks to get from point a to point b. and watching a mountainload of everest and k2 videos, documentaries and movies hardly makes us experts in the area of climbing. we are not even novices.
but, in terms of the metaphor of this quote, i can relate.
surely, climbing a mountain with nothing to grip onto would be nearly impossible. all organic. all analog. i’m sure alex honnold would agree that if there is nothing at all to hold, with either his hand or his foot, that would make free-climbing such a face a feat of the imagination. there has to be something. some overlap. some crevice. some tiny blip of rock. something.
so. enter the rough. or, in the case of the metaphoric quote, rough times. how would we ever get to the top without them? would we actually recognize the top? would we appreciate the top? would we scale the uphill were it smooth? could we?
or did some smart-ass mountaineer quote this just to mess with us?
clearly, the men and women who have climbed everest with all its personality traits, its twists and turns, its icefalls and crevasses, its sharp ridges and its deep snow have dealt with all of it. they have not turned away as it was too smooth. they have not turned away as it was too rough. they have persisted.
and maybe that there is the point. despite the rough, the smooth, the easy, the hard, the oxygenated, the death zone, the chilling cold, the sun heating the seracs, the avalanches, the perilous altitudinal affects, the glorious summit stands ready.
the mountaintop. it’s there for anyone who just keeps on going. through it all.
and isn’t that all of us?